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Response to Review of Banishment in the Early Atlantic World: Convicts, Rebels and Slaves

First, we would like to thank Aaron Fogleman for his careful and thought-provoking review. We have no objections to make in the face of such a clear analysis of our work, though there is one correction – the expulsion of the Nova Scotia Acadians was in 1755, before the Seven Years or French and Indian War was officially declared in 1756, but the process continued during the war. The issue was conveniently buried by the exigencies of Britain having to fight a war on a global scale for the first time.

The main points made by Professor Fogleman are well taken. We reluctantly omitted our research on the expulsion of loyalists in the American Revolution because of the sheer scale of the material, and we intend to include this in a larger project on treason and rebellion in the 18th-century British Empire. The chapter on the expulsion of leading Quakers from Philadelphia in 1777 is a preliminary exploration.

The broader questions are also ones which began to fascinate us as our work progressed. The similarities in urban laws of banishment in Scotland, the Low Countries and Germany, for example, suggest either a common heritage or free borrowing of styles of urban government and civic defence mechanisms in the late medieval period. The city of New York, even after the English takeover, showed some of these characteristics, derived from Dutch law. These practices became the basis for banishment to the colonies where countries like the Netherlands and Scotland were connected to overseas colonial destinations in later centuries. This was probably the case in Portugal, too, as patterns of internal exile and banishment were transformed before 1600 into transatlantic transportation (see the work of Timothy Coates here). Countries without these external opportunities may have turned inwards to landward destinations, as happened in Russia for example.(1a) Central and Eastern Europe remain something of a mystery, though patterns in both the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires may have been closer to Russian policies. A comparative imperial history is certainly needed, as Professor Fogleman suggests, if we are to place the Atlantic world and the European policies towards it in proper perspective.


  1. Nancy Kollman, Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (Cambridge, 2012); Gwenda Morgan, ‘Convict labor and migration’, in The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, ed. Immanuel Ness (Oxford, 2013);  Jason P. Coy, Strangers and Misfits: Banishment, Social Control and Authority in Early Modern Germany (Leiden and Boston, MA, 2008); Kerry Ward, Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company  (Cambridge, 2008) Timothy J. Coates,  Convicts and Orphans: Forced and State-Sponsored Colonizers in the Portuguese Empire, 1550–1755 (Redwood City, CA, 2001).Back to (1a)